Say these words aloud: "I Will."
We use the word "will" often every dayBut, what does it mean? The dictionary says that will is an auxiliary verb - an extra verb that's followed by the REAL action in the sentence. I will get more sleep, I will go shopping, I will see you tonight. I will achieve my goals.
But, the real power in the word comes from making will THE action verb, not a sidekick. I WILL this day to be joyful. Deliberate intention, resolve. This version of the word seems reserved for royalty or God. A King might will his subjects to pay taxes. The Lord's Prayer says, "Thy will be done." Both paint a clearer picture of exactly how powerful the word is.
Will is the creative force of a conscious mind. But, although our mind is at work all day long, the vast majority of the time we're running on autopilot - operating from our subconscious mind - is a repository of learned behaviors; a set of habitual responses. Acting from habits to routine situations requires little real thought. But, to will requires being consciously present.
Have you ever been driving somewhere totally engrossed in a conversation with your passenger? It's not unusual to suddenly realize that you missed your turn off. Your conscious mind was busy with the conversation, so your subconscious mind drove. Keep that in mind the next time you're on the freeway traveling 65 miles an hour...most people aren't really present mentally.
Try this exercise with a friend sometime. It will give put you in the experience of being consciously present. Have your friend hold both hands toward you; palms facing youPlace your hands palm to palm with about 6 inches between your palmsTell your friend to move their hands in any way they choose. Your job is to parallel their movements. To do this well, you must be alert, conscious, and present.
Now, imagine that your friend represents your family, the economy, your job, traffic, the weather, etc. It does what it does and you react as best you can. This is how most of us lives our lives. Reacting as best we can to whatever happens. It's easy to get wrapped up in all the circumstances that vie for our attention each day. Someone says something, something happens or doesn't happen, plans change. All day we respond to what's going on in our lives like puppets being manipulated by strings. Not in control. ReactingFighting fires. Making adjustments. The world causes and we react.
Creating, Not Just Reacting
But there is a different way of living that puts us in more control and brings greater peace. We can create, not just react. This is where WILL comes in. "I Will" says, "This is what I cause." But can we really cause what we want?.
What if we not only can, but we cannot do otherwise? What if we are the cause of the reality we experience? Is that good news? You bet. Does that mean that you WANTED everything you have experienced? Not really. Because most often we create unconsciously. And unconscious thoughts often bring forth our fears, not our hopes.
The Quantum Physics Lens
I've been fascinated by Quantum physics for several years because it's breaking the rules we've long held as physical truths. Physical matter doesn't behave at a subatomic level the way it does in our visible world. Is it possible for me to be standing here and to also be standing over there at the same time? No. But, at the subatomic level it seems that it IS possible for a particle to be here AND there at the same time.
Quantum physics even goes so far as to say that reality, as we know it, doesn't even exist until we will it into existence. That reality is just a soup of potential until the mind calls it into physical being.
Even though I've studied quantum physics for a while, I don't presume to understand it completely...or even well. But, even its foundering physicists, like Albert Einstein, Max Plank, or Neils Bohr didn't fully understand it, so I'm in good company.
What If We've Got It All Wrong?
But, here's why I'm fascinated by it. What if the way we've always looked at the world is wrong? What if we have the cause-effect thing backwards? What if the world isn't the creative force, but WE are? What if your life and experiences are self-created? What might that mean to the way you think and decide and interact with life?.
This goes beyond merely deciding how to manage your perceptions of things. It's more than making lemonade out of lemons. It's about creating oranges instead of lemons...and doing it intentionally.
Our predecessors believed that the world was flat. They believed that demons caused illnesses. They believed that the sun revolved around the earth and that objects heavier than air could not fly.
But then, humanity developed keener senses and discovered new truths. Why would we believe that we've reach the pinnacle of wisdom at this point? What if we're only in our infancy when it comes to understanding how the world really works and what we're capable of?.
What would you WILL if you knew without doubt that your will would happen?.
This I believe...we have much more control over what our lives look like than we give ourselves credit for. We have the power to WILL our lives. To BE the cause. But, this requires two things: being present and belief.
Most of our conscious thinking isn't about this moment. We spend the majority of our thinking lives reliving the past or wondering about the future. Our most creative power, thought, is wasted in reviewing what's already happened or in guessing about what's going to happen.
So, most our lives we rely upon our habitual response patterns to deal with the moment. Running on autopilot. Responding by habit, not by choice.
The ability to focus thought is a skill few people ever acquire. Especially today in our information overload world. In our channel surfing, sound bite, attention deficit world. Close your eyes and think of a cat. When you realize that your thoughts have drifted to something else open your eyes. How did you do? Could you focus for more than a few seconds?.
Thinking about a cat may not have seemed very important to you and your mind may not have taken the exercise seriously, but the real key here is that if we can't flex our mental muscle for the easy stuff, how much hope do we have for the things in life that really DO matter to us?.
Developing focus is honing your creative abilities. It's sharpening your WILL. Meditation is one way to help the mind focus. A focused mind can create miracles.
The Power of Belief
The second requirement for you to be the cause of your life is intentional belief. We get what we believe.
If our beliefs say that the way our life is is beyond our control...that other people can bend our life to their will, we'll be manipulated by life. If we believe that we aren't stronger than any circumstance we will ever face or that we even deserve the bad stuff that happens, then we will get what we believe.
WILL is focused intentional thought. Thought is creative and it would be wise for us to monitor our self talk. Left to create on its own, much of our self talk tends toward doom and gloom. It's amazing what our imaginations can do with practically no solid facts.
Much of my book The Sequoia Seed: Remembering the Truth of Who You Are is aimed at raising awareness of how we walk this path of life. And how much our self talk determines the quality of our experience. Sequoia readers have told me that one of their favorite chapters is The Three Headed Monster. It's a study of our most challenging thought robbers: fear, doubt and confusion.
Fear, Doubt, Confusion
We spend an inordinate amount of time and effort grappling with these corrosive emotions and none of it improves our lives one whit.
Instead, I'd recommend challenging your fears and doubts. They are most often made of flimsy stuff. In the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy and her companions stand quaking before the Great and Powerful Wizard, Dorothy's dog, Toto, pulls aside a curtain behind which a meek little man is running a machine that is creating the horrifying apparition. There was no Great and Powerful Wizard, just an illusion. And so is the majority of our fear.
The truth is you are stronger than anything this world can inflict on you. The human WILL is indomitable and our powers to create are endless.
The thief of our power is our doubt. It robs us of the vital energy force that nourishes life. Doubt is a disease and truth is the antidote. Truth and will can defeat any circumstance. We only need to trust our strength more than we doubt it.
I encourage you to invest in your WILL through strengthening your ability to focus on what you want and your belief that it IS possible. Be still within and touch that place in you that is strong and sure. Whatever lies before you in this moment, be the cause of what is to happen, not its victim. You are the Great and Powerful Wizard and your WILL will carry you through.
Karen is author of The Sequoia Seed: Remembering the Truth of Who You Are, a great read for anyone who is seeking understanding or guidance, inspiration or clarity in his or her life.